Even with the best preparation, asking for money can still be a bit nerve-wracking. Have you ever set up a solicitation appointment and gone to the meeting only to chicken out of asking?

I’m sure it’s happened to each of us at least once.

One of the best ways to help remind you to actually ask for money is using props. There’s a wonderful power in putting a piece of paper on the desk or propping a picture on a bookcase. All of a sudden, the solicitation is no longer you against them. Instead, you’re both focusing on the same thing. It’s as though you form a brief partnership.

One of the easiest props is using the gift grid you created during the research stage. You can create one easily by going to http://campagne.com/giftrange/.

This gift range chart shows how many gifts you need to successfully reach your goal. Moreover, it shows how many qualified prospects you should have at each gift level.

Why do I like this type of prop?

Even if you have a problem asking for the exact dollar amount, say $25,000, you can point to the section of the grid and ask, “Would you consider giving at this level?”

When the prospect can see the entire range of gifts and just may say, “No, but I can see giving at this higher level.” (It has happened!)

This grid can also become a great prospecting tool. Whether the person says “yes” or “no” to your solicitation, you can ask them if there is anyone they’d recommend you talk to about giving at that level.

They may not be able to think of anyone, but at least you’ve asked. If they do think of someone, you’ve significantly decreased your research time on that new person. With permission, you can even call them and say, “I was just talking about this project for XYZ nonprofit with Joe and he suggested I show it to you too. Would you have time in your schedule this Thursday or next Tuesday?”

One important note: don’t use the prop as a substitute for asking. Do a little PYITS (Putting Yourself In Their Shoes). Would you make a significant gift if you received a gift grid in the mail?

Probably not. So don’t risk it with your prospect. Your cause is too important. Set up the solicitation appointment, and bring the prop with you. You’ll be glad you did!

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